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Is Your Office Toxic?

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Matt Tomasino There have been 0 comments

Whether you work in a one floor structure small business, or a massive multi-floor corporation, there may be some interior environmental risks which could be making your office toxic. A toxic office might mysteriously be behind many symptoms such as your constant throat or skin itch, watery or dry eyes, and even joint pain. In fact, there is something called ‘sick building syndrome’ or SBS that has been verified as an actual health risk. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes this condition, “SBS is the result of a negative health response presented by an occupant or occupants only when in a specific building space.” Try some of these simple ways to recognize and repair these risks to see if it helps your health while helping your planet at the same time.

Carpet Cleanup

Most office carpet gets high traffic and minimal cleaning at best. This is a veritable petri-dish capable of holding all sorts of bacterias and parasites which may be creeping into your system. Although your resilience to these microscopic threats is high, there could still be peripheral effects such as a triggered allergic reaction. In addition to vacuuming your office carpet and upholstery there should be a bi-yearly steam cleaning that uses a naturally sourced carpet extraction solvent and carpet sealer. Also, daily use of a non-toxic carpet deodorizer that includes anti-bacterial properties is highly recommended. Replace your carpet if it is worn or displays signs of water damage, mold or rot. Look for Green Seal products or others that guarantee no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), natural materials and, if possible, a socially conscious ‘source to consumer’ footprint.

Cleaning Supply Safety

Another culprit of potential office toxicity is industrial cleaning supplies. Whether it's a couple of employees who pitch in to tidy or a cleaning company that comes in after hours, you may want to take note of what is being used. Although conventional surface and glass cleaners tout safety, it is the long game that may affect you. The chemicals in these products have been shown to be linked to all kinds of health conditions that either show up immediately or accumulate over time. Yet, these health conditions are rarely traced back to toxic cleaning supplies. According to a report by Rodale’s Organic Life, “The Environmental Working Group found that, “chemicals in many conventional cleaning supplies used in California schools have been linked to asthma, cancer, reproductive toxicity, hormone disruption, and neurotoxicity.” Stick to naturally sourced industrial cleaning supplies that work just as well as mainstream brands but without the nasty health risks and have a better environmental track record.

Air it Out

Office air can become stagnant, recycled and in some cases even toxic. SBS considers office air to be one of the main culprits regarding spread of bacteria, viruses, parasites and allergens.There is even evidence that an in-office printer machine emits high airborne toxic particle concentration while printing. The EPA reported that, “30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality (IAQ).” Inquire about how the structure you are working in handles its air quality regarding filter change protocols and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-condition) overall maintenance. Installing a portable air filter unit could make a huge difference for overall health. You can also use an air quality test kit to determine yourself if your office air is compromised.

Level the Lighting

Office lighting is notorious for inconspicuously creating a toxic work environment. If it is too bright your senses could fire on overload causing unnecessary stress for all sorts of systemic functions. It is nothing you will outwardly notice other than a variety of peripheral symptoms such as headaches, poor mood, eye strain and more. Eye strain from computer monitor exposure also plays a role in contributing to symptoms as well. Plus, if there is not enough light this can strain your system in other ways. Your should first try to utilize as much natural, incoming light from the outside by shutting overheads and opening shades. If this is not possible then you can look into replacing office bulbs with more environmentally friendly choices such as LED’s that mimic natural light.

If you think your office is toxic, try some of these fixes to see if they make a difference. It could come as a huge surprise how much better you may feel after these adjustments.


This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Health and Safety, Your Green Business and was tagged with ENERGY EFFICIENT, green office, green small business, HEALTH SENSITIVE, NON-TOXIC

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